Four Crystal City officials including Mayor Lopez arrested by FBI in connection for taking bribes in illegal gaming payoffs.
By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.
February 4, 2016
Crystal City, Texas – On Thursday, the FBI raided City Hall in Crystal City resulting with the arrest of four City officials including Mayor Richard Lopez, 40, Mayor Pro-Tem Rogelio Mata, 43, City Councilman Roel Mata, 44, and Interim City Manager and Attorney William James Jonas III, 54, also taken into custody were former City Councilman Gilbert Urrabazo, 45, and businessman Ngoc Tri Nguyen, 38, aka, “Mr. T” in connection with taking bribes to help Nguyen, a contractor to establish 8-liner gaming rooms around Crystal City and providing city tax waivers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Texas. The 8-liner gaming operation paid players in cash and the gambling operation is illegal in Texas.
Rogelio, Lopez and Roel were taken into custody in Crystal City, Jonas and Urrabazo were arrested in San Antonio and Nguyen was arrested in Keller, Texas.
Each of the defendants were charged with one felony count for conspiracy to commit bribery involving an entity receiving over $10,000 in federal funds, in addition, Jonas was charged with three counts for bribery, Rogelio, Roel, Urrabazo, Lopez and Ngugen were charged with one felony count each for bribery. If convicted, each defendant is facing up to 10 years in a federal prison and up to $250,000 in fines for each count.
City Hall remained closed on Thursday in Crystal City, but is expected to open on Friday.
The FBI raided the San Antonio office of attorney Jonas to search for evidence connected to the bribing and gaming operation. Jonas allegedly took money from Nguyen in exchange to help facilitate the gaming operation in Crystal City.
Some of the defendants are expected to appear before a federal judge later today to face charges.
The FBI, San Antonio Police, the Texas Rangers and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection took part in the joint gaming operation bust.
According to the unsealed indictment against the defendants named in the case, the defendants began to conspire to commit favorable action to award city service contracts valued at more than $12,000 to Nguyen beginning in April 2015. Nguyen in return paid Jonas up to $7,791, Urrabazo $2,000, Roel Mata $$2,000, Mayor Lopez received $6,000 to purchase a vehicle and Rogelio Mata up to $500.
The city officials indicted conspired and acted to “waived certain tax payments” for Nguyen and directed Crystal City employees “to close competing businesses and to conduct City inspections to benefit Nguyen,” according to the federal indictment.
Federal indictment of William James Jonas III at following link: http://bit.ly/1PVE8MB